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Bond, George Alan (1876–1950)

by Colin Forster

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 7, (MUP), 1979

George Alan Bond (1876-1950), manufacturer, was born on 22 May 1876 at Louisville, Kentucky, United States of America, son of George Henry Bond, a Scottish horticulturist, and his wife Jane, née Redman. While still operating a small trading firm in New Jersey, Bond came to Sydney in 1906, followed by his wife Jeanette, née Hall, whom he had married in New York. He was naturalized in 1922.

Bond began business in Sydney as an importer of hosiery and underwear. With the outbreak of war in 1914 and consequent import shortages, he began manufacturing hosiery on a small scale at Redfern. The enterprise flourished and in June 1920 was converted into a public company, George A. Bond & Co. Ltd, with an issued capital of about £200,000. Bond as managing director supervised the firm's rapid growth in the 1920s; by 1927 it employed some 2600 people and had assets valued at £1,582,000. He and his wife held most of the ordinary shares and the firm was directly under the control of 'the chief'. Aided by substantial tariffs the manufacture of hosiery and knitted goods grew rapidly in the 1920s, and by 1925 he was apparently producing about one-quarter of the total Australian output.

In 1923 Bond had begun the first significant attempt to spin and weave cotton in Australia by establishing a mill at Wentworthville. With government support, cotton was grown mainly in Queensland where his company owned two cotton farms; from 1926 it received a bounty for manufacturing yarn from local cotton. In 1926 he formed a subsidiary company, George A. Bond Cotton Mills Ltd.

Bond's profitable expansion and diversification of interests came to an abrupt halt in 1927: the value of stocks held by the parent company had risen to the ruinous figure of £650,000 and the Bank of New South Wales, which held a large overdraft, forced the firm into liquidation in December. The companies were carried on by the liquidators until sold in 1930 to an entirely new group, Bond's Industries Ltd, which ultimately flourished. The loss involved in the liquidation was probably the largest by a manufacturing company to that date: all the share capital to the value of £700,000 had to be written off.

Bond's whole fortune and much of his reputation were lost in the crash. He opposed the terms of the liquidation but was defeated in the Equity Court, and was held liable to his company for £90,000 for improperly drawn director's fees, commissions and other payments. Commonwealth, State and New Zealand taxation authorities claimed payment on concealed income. Bond fought bankruptcy proceedings to the High Court, lost and was declared bankrupt in April 1931. The principal unsecured claim was his debt to the company, but no assets were available and he was finally discharged in April 1935. He found employment at Summer Hill as manager of a small hosiery firm, the Jeanette Manufacturing Co., founded by his wife in 1928. Unable to re-establish himself, he was described as a commission agent when he died of atherosclerosis on 1 June 1950 at Ashfield and was cremated with Presbyterian rites. His wife had predeceased him in 1937; they had no children. His estate was valued for probate at £642.

Select Bibliography

  • Yarn Spinner (Sydney), 1 (1926-27)
  • file New South Wales 166 of 1930, District of New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory (Federal Court of Bankruptcy, Sydney)
  • George A. Bond & Co. Ltd papers (held by Bonds Coats Patons Ltd)
  • G. A. Bond, CRS-A435, 50/4/4886 (National Archives of Australia).

Citation details

Colin Forster, 'Bond, George Alan (1876–1950)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/bond-george-alan-5285/text8913, published first in hardcopy 1979, accessed online 16 December 2017.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 7, (MUP), 1979

View the front pages for Volume 7

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